Thursday, February 01, 2007

The A-League Finals: Adelaide vs. Melbourne, part 2

Quite a long post, so I’ve split it into two – what we did, and what we need to do. Start at the other post, linked here!

In the return leg, I hope that Merrick aims for a 2-0 score-line. As I said before, f we get one goal, and Adelaide sneak one back, they're through. So we need a little buffer, just in case. Watt requested a line-up, which is not normally something I do, so I’ll just offer my thoughts and a little diagram. We need a more attacking line-up. (Duh).

On the left we should use Caceres/Alessandro. Now, neither of these have full match fitness, I think they’d only survive about an hour each, so if you use one, you know you’ll have to sub on the other as a replacement. I do tend to prefer Caceres, as he seems to be able to do more with the ball in terms of deployment. Alessandro will go down the line, try to make his man make the first move, ideally beat him and dribble a bit more, perhaps he’ll occasionally pass it in. But his natural game is to do this from the outside (i.e. hook the ball in with the inside of his preferred left foot). Merrick has been trying to get some diversity into his game, especially recently, but Alessandro has found playing the ball from the inside a little difficult and he has not been nearly as effective as he was earlier in the season. Caceres has less trickery up his sleeve, and may only be a marginally better defender (or perhaps, ‘less worse’ would be a better term in this case), but I think he has better vision and his crosses and through-balls are more effective. I’m more inclined to start Alessandro and see how he goes, and then put Caceres on. I think our game is limited these days if Caceres starts, and then we put Alessandro on – he limits our options…

On the right I’d stick to Storey – he can play as a right back that pushes through. He had a great game last week, the kind of game the frustrates me. Why? Because sometimes he seems to be unable to play, but you know that he can as you see glimpses of it every now and then. He kept the quality up for most of the match last week. If he can do it once, he can do it again*. And it’s very frustrating to watch him in his bad patches. I think Brebner is indisposible in the midfield. Nothing against Muscat, but Brebs understands the midfield better, his distribution is superior, and he talks a lot. Not just useless gas-bagging, but if you put the game aside and just watch Brebner for a few minutes even off the ball he’s pretty much our traffic director. So I’d like to see Muscat as our first defender/last midfielder.

So that’s the midfield, in defence I’d play Vargas/Leijer in the middle, Panta on the left (to provide some cover for our defensively poor Caceres or Alessandro) and Storey on the right, venturing forward. I’d play Fred just behind the front two of Allsopp and Thompson. Fred seems to prefer the right side of play, which ties in nicely with Storey (playing in defence means he can’t venture the whole way forward). Allsopp’s a bit of a workhorse, so he’d drop back when necessary to give the midfield numbers. He tends to do this naturally, so you can leave Archie at the top. Another reason to keep Archie up is that he’s slow. On Sunday, there were at least two times when Archie dropped down to help out and tried to transport the ball himself out of danger, but on the two occasions lost the ball cheaply. He’s slow off the ball, and even slower on it. His distribution needs some work (which is probably why he decided to dribble the ball out rather than pass it), and to be honest he’s the kind of player I don’t want anywhere near my goal.

* Well, Covic had a good game once vs. Central Coast, I’m hoping he can do it again vs. Sydney this weekend.

P.S. This picture shows why I will never (and should never) do line marking on the morning of a match. Are we clear?!?

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